Philippines: Threats and acts of intimidation against Ms Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
August 25, 2017, 4:08 am
According to the information received, on 20 July 2017, at around 10:20 p.m., Ms. Cristina “Tinay” Palabay received a phone call from a man who repeatedly asked her if she was “Tinay Palabay” and refused to tell her his name. He told Ms. Palabay that she should stop what she was doing, referring to her human rights work, because she was on a “list” of people whom they considered as “courageous,” and that he called because she was within his “AOR” (interpreted as “area of responsibility”). He accused Ms. Palabay of being involved in the alleged ambush of June 19, 2017, of the Presidential Security Group by members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mindanao. Ms. Palabay denied knowledge of and involvement in the reported incident, as she was at that time in Manila leading the preparations for peaceful protests ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address and his request for an extension of martial law in Mindanao. The caller also repeatedly asked about Ms. Palabay’s whereabouts, and warned her to be careful because he would soon meet her.
Ms. Palabay immediately recounted on Facebook the incident and made public the threats she received. After searching the caller’s cellphone number (+639260779448 ), it appeared that the number belongs to a member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Safety Battalion.
On August 16, 2017, a complaint to the Philippine Commission on Human Rights was submitted by Karapatan.
Ms. Palabay is an independent observer in the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). She is also a member of the organizing committee of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), an advisor to the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights (UAF). In April 2017, Ms. Palabay and three other Filipino activists conducted a speaking tour in the US on the human rights situation in the Philippines and the GRP-NDFP peace talks. She also participated in the May 2017 Carter Center Human Rights Defenders Forum, organized by former US President Jimmy Carter in Atlanta, US.